Testing Your Ticker
In honor of February being heart health awareness month, we learn about the scans that can test your cardiac age compared to your calendar age.
Heart health is the responsibility of the young. After all, most of us get only one ticker.
Knowing how it’s working (circulation) and what it’s up against (plaque that can block the arteries) can help you make changes to protect your heart and keep it beating strong.
Long before symptoms appear, key medical tests can provide a baseline for you and your doctor. Four of those tests are offered on the St. Elizabeth Healthcare CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit, which visits shopping centers, churches and senior centers as part of St. Elizabeth’s community effort to promote heart health.
“For younger people that come on and have the screening, it’s kind of a nice affirmation of ‘yes, I’m doing things right’ or ‘boy, I need to straighten some things out because if I don’t, in 10-15 years, I could be at risk for cardiovascular disease,’” said Jeanie Foley, Patient and Wellness Coordinator for the mobile unit.
A quick blood test and smoking history, as well as height and weight, are used to determine your cardiac age. It estimates the risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years. “So, if you are 42 and you have a cardiac age of 64,” explained Foley, a registered nurse, “it’s a clear wakeup call.”
People are really surprised when they see their cardiac age is 20 years older than their calendar age, said Foley. “[They often say] I really do need to stop eating fried chicken and get moving a little more.”
Also offered on the mobile unit: carotid ultrasound which can reveal plaque buildup and blockages in the arteries of the neck which supply blood to the brain.
People can be doing all the right things – exercising and watching what they eat – and still want to check things out using the tests.
“If you are 55, there are ways to improve … perhaps your cholesterol isn’t quite being managed right … your statin isn’t as effective as it should be,” said Foley. A visit with the doctor may be in order.
- Four tests are offered for $100; or you may choose individual tests for $25.
- Bring a check, cash or credit card. Insurance is not accepted.
- A typical visit is 30 minutes with a reservation at 859-301-WELL (9355).
- A four-hour fast is required for the blood test.
“It is a non-threatening, easy way to get some good baseline information about your health,” said Foley.
Upcoming dates for the St. Elizabeth CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit:
TUESDAY, FEB. 14 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Women Take Heart Screening Dillard’s
2900 Town Center Blvd.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 15 1-5 p.m.
R.C. Durr YMCA
5874 Veterans Way
THURSDAY, FEB. 16 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
9950 Berberich Drive
FRIDAY, FEB. 17 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5016 Old Taylor Mill Road
MONDAY, FEB. 20 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Town and Country Sports and Health Club
1018 Town Drive
TUESDAY, FEB. 21 Noon to 6 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Florence
4900 Houston Road
TUESDAY, FEB. 22 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
375 Crossroads Blvd.
THURSDAY, FEB. 23 8 a.m. to noon
Five Seasons Family Sports Club
345 Thomas More Parkway